Browsing Category: Asia

Experiencing Saigon by Motorbike with XO Tours

The Foodie by XO Tours - Vietnam - Asia Travel

You can feel the vibrancy as soon as you touch down in Saigon – the motorbikes whizzing by, the smells, the sizzling heat.

Last time I was in the city, I was overwhelmed. It was one of the first cities I visited in Asia and my senses were doing overtime. I didn’t know how to cross the street without having a heart-racing adrenaline kick each time, and I soon found out that the motorbike thieves are a real thing when one tried to grab my friend’s bag from behind.

It was too much and I wrote off Saigon as a big city that I would never enjoy visiting. But as I sometimes find when I travel more, I couldn’t have been more wrong with my initial prejudice against the city.

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Travel Budgeting for Hong Kong

Travel Budgeting for Hong Kong

To continue my travel budgeting series around Asia, next up is Hong Kong!

Hong Kong was actually my first Asian destination for this trip, but I somehow didn’t get to this budgeting post until now. I think it’s because I’ve spent the least amount of time in Hong Kong so far, so it wasn’t as much of a priority.

But, the time has come to talk about travel budgeting for this metropolitan city. Hong Kong is one of the most expensive places in Asia, so it’s good to know what you should budget before you arrive.

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Wrap Up: February 2017

Koh Mak, Thailand at Sunset - Asia Travel

Hello friends and welcome to my brand new monthly wrap-up series! In an effort to stay relevant and keep you informed on my current travels (since this blog is usually a month or two behind on where I actually am), I’ve decided to start writing personal wrap-up posts.

So, without further delay, this is what I got up to in February!

Can I just start by saying how fast 2017 is going already. Maybe it’s because I’ve gotten more into a routine where I’m based on this little Thai island, but the weeks have been flying by.

It doesn’t help that February is such a short month, but boy, it has made me realize how much I want to get done this year and that I need to re-focus.

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Travel Budgeting for Myanmar (2017)

To continue my travel budgeting series around Asia, next up is Myanmar!

Myanmar can be a wild card when it comes to budgeting. Although you can research and read blog posts like the one you’re currently reading about what to expect, you can never be too sure when it comes to this country. Prices are constantly changing, as well as the information on Myanmar as a whole.

I wrote up a post on 12 things to know before you go to Myanmar, and it’s a good reference to base your 2017 and later travels. I came across so many posts from 2014 and 2015 in my research, and almost all of them were already out of date.

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Hill Tribes, Mud, and Determination: A Three-Day Trek in Myanmar

Trekking in Myanmar - The Atlas Heart

Last time I was in Southeast Asia, I heard constant stories from travelers in Chiang Mai or Hanoi about their recent treks with local tribes, through jungles and uneven terrain. It sounded adventurous and a tad exotic. Trekking through the jungle in Asia with locals? Yes, that sounds like me.

Unfortunately, that last trip was whirlwind and planned to the day. There wasn’t much room for random treks for two- or three-days, no matter how interesting they seemed. I never made it further then those northern cities in Thailand and Vietnam, and forgot all about trekking until I arrived in Myanmar.

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12 Things to Know Before Visiting Myanmar in 2017

12 things to Know About Myanmar - Asia Travel - The Atlas Heart

Myanmar is still a mysterious and constantly changing spot in Southeast Asia. This is what you should know about the country in 2017!

I received confirmation for my Myanmar e-visa, and booked my flights to the country soon after from a sweaty, windowless hotel room in Hong Kong. I had no idea what I was getting myself into.

I’m going to be honest and say that Myanmar is the most challenging country I’ve traveled to as of yet, but that doesn’t mean that it still wasn’t all kinds of awesome.

Myanmar was a unique destination in a sea of backpacker trails and countries that have been overrun by tourism time and again. Myanmar was still touristy in areas, but it also offered a glimpse at traditional Burmese culture and untouched scenery that I haven’t witnessed in quite awhile.

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Travel Budgeting for Taiwan (2017)

Tachung, Taiwan - Asia Travel

Taiwan was exactly what I needed after fast-paced Hong Kong. It was also a much needed relief on my budget. Although Taiwan is definitely not the cheapest destination in Asia, it was a hell of a lot cheaper than Hong Kong. I adored the good humored and playful nature of Taiwanese culture, and the friendliness that I came across time and again.

Besides a couple of rogue bus drivers who refused to let us off because they were late for the rest of their route (um, what?), I had very few negative experiences in the country. In fact, Taiwan is right up there with Vietnam as one of my favorite countries in Asia thus far.

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2016, A Year of Perseverance

The Atlas Heart in Taroko National Park, Taiwan - 2016

It’s that time of the year again. 2016 is already coming to a close, and I’m preparing for a new 12 months of goals, travel, and life. When I look back on 2016, I see a year that was difficult, challenging, and a whole lot of fun too. I based myself in North America this year and had many wonderful adventures starting from the Pacific Northwest.

This was an epic year of travel for me. I traveled to more US states than I thought possible in a year, and, to my glee, I finally added Canada to my destinations. In fact, I visited Canada four separate times throughout the year. I just couldn’t get enough of the Great White North.

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38 Reasons Why Life is Better in Taiwan

38 Reasons Why Life is Better in Taiwan - Asia Travel

I’m writing this on a train back to Taipei. By the time this post is published I will already be in Myanmar, but right now I still have a few more days in Taiwan. As I’m sitting on the train, I can’t help but appreciate the memories I have from this country. Taiwan ended up being a place I loved even more than I thought I would, and I’m truly sad to be leaving so soon.

I spent just over a month in Taiwan and I feel like I barely scratched the surface. I traveled the west coast, made it down to the southern tip, and back up the east coast. I noted the changes in local culture with each new area of the country, but how they also had a few common threads. Taiwan is a place I could see myself living in for awhile if the timing worked out in the future. For now, I’m grateful for what this country has given me.

These are the 38 reasons why life is simply better in Taiwan.

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